The events in today's chapters center around three persons-- Hannah, Eli, and Samuel. God's sovereign working is seen in the birth of Samuel, for his mother, Hannah, was barren. Hannah prayed that God would give her a son, and even before she had conceived she consecrated him to the Lord. God answered Hannah's prayer and Samuel was born. The name Samuel (which means "requested of God") was given to the child as a token of the Lord's faithfulness in answering Hannah's prayer. Samuel was weaned and presented to Eli, the priest, at the central shrine at Shiloh.
The call of Samuel is covered in chapter 3. Tradition states that Samuel was about twelve years old at this time. He had grown up in the presence of the Lord and learned to serve in His Tabernacle, yet he did not have a personal experience with the Lord. How important it is for those who are raised in Christian homes to make their own personal decisions for Christ! Samuel had filled the lampstand with oil; it was close to daybreak and the lamp was about to go out. Samuel was sleeping and the Lord called him. He first thought that blind Eli needed his help, so he ran to him. Verse 10 records Samuel's conversion. He said, "Speak, for thy servant heareth.".
This event was a turning point in history. Up to now, God had not spoken to the people in frequent or widespread (open) visions. But now everyone knew that Samuel was God's prophet and that the Lord was with him. The Lord was now able to appear once again because there was a man whom He could trust. Certainly God could do more for His people even today if He could find a devoted man willing to be His servant!
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